During my time on the NGDP scheme, I was responsible for the housing chapter, pulling together a range of data sources and statistics, and developing trend material. The placement was a great opportunity to understand housing needs within the context of regeneration and to support a high profile strategy, with strategic directors as theme leads and championed by the chief executive.
I joined the National Graduate Development Programme in 2017, part of cohort 19, based at Brent Council. I joined the Regeneration team in my second placement, working on the Inclusive Growth Strategy – a 20-year strategy that aimed to identify the challenges and opportunities of growth that would affect the borough. Now a permanent member of the Regeneration team, I have seen the Inclusive Growth Strategy through to publication, adopted by Cabinet and approved by Full Council.
The Inclusive Growth Strategy (IGS) uses an evidence-based methodology to understand the current baseline across 7 key themes of culture, economy, education and skills, environment, health, housing and infrastructure in the diverse borough of Brent. Building on the baseline, the IGS explores evidence and trend data that will affect the borough across a broad sweep of demographic and socioeconomic factors. Using the baseline and trend evidence, a set of cross-departmental policy responses have been drawn up – utilising local knowledge and expertise.
During my time on the NGDP scheme, I was responsible for the housing chapter, pulling together a range of data sources and statistics, and developing trend material. The placement was a great opportunity to understand housing needs within the context of regeneration and to support a high profile strategy, with strategic directors as theme leads and championed by the chief executive. Working on the IGS was a great example of cross-departmental collaboration; policy workshops were held with officers from regeneration, outcomes of which were used to develop action plans with senior managers.
Since then, the IGS has been scrutinised by strategic directors, the chief executive, cabinet members and, most recently, by external partners. Being able to continue the work I started in my placement as part of the NGDP has been a unique experience. From initially researching and planning workshops for colleagues, I was able to use my experience to develop and present materials to Senior Managers Group, as well as senior partners from across Brent and London.
A short IGS animated summary video was commissioned to make the IGS more accessible, which went together with the IGS synopsis, full strategy and research base. I led on the procurement and creative process for the video and the design of the documents, which, whilst challenging, provided example of the creativity used in local authorities.
Developing the IGS has helped me understand the challenges and issues that local government will face, providing a ‘big-picture' context to the day to day work that local authorities undertake moving towards 2040. With population growth expected to increase by at least 17 per cent moving towards 2040 and the population over 81 expected to double, there are specific headline trends that will cut across service-areas and require the council response.
In total, over 250 actions have been created that can be used across departments for future service planning that have been based on rigorous data analysis. The IGS has provided me an example of how local authorities need to be looking to long-term documents to encourage pre-emptive planning rather than reactive policy.